Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…
*I was sent a physical ARC of this novel via the publisher Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review – a massive thank you to Kate at Hodder for the chance to read this one early. Look at how gorgeous the proofs and promo materials are!*
Once Upon A Broken Heart is a whimsical, lush gem which will be sure to sweep you away the same way Caraval did. Fans of the trilogy will definitely enjoy the little cameos that characters from Caraval make and since it takes place in the same universe, there’s more than a few references sprinkled in too. I will say, if you’re not a fan of her other books, then I don’t think you’ll enjoy this book because it bears a strong resemblance to the trilogy and has the same sort of prose.
What I really liked about this book was how vividly imagined the story was and the constant stream of evocative and whimsical, fantastical settings, characters and events. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Stephanie Garber has a way with words and seeing her work brought to life on the screen would be amazing. From the main story arc where it begins with a risky bargain in a crumbling little church, to Evangeline’s family bookstore filled with tomes to the lands of the wild north where stories have a penchant to go unfinished and forgotten. Even writing this review I’m getting swept up in the story all over again.
I feel like Garber takes all the best elements of classic and well loved fairytale elements and imbues it with her own unique flair. I loved how we got to ‘meet’ Jacks again aka the wicked prince of hearts and as with many of the best fictional characters; he’s mysterious, witty and extremely charming. I liked the banter between Evangeline and Jacks, has he finally met his equal? Only time will tell. It was also cool to find out more about Jacks backstory as Garber delves further into the lore and history of this fan favourite. Also there’s a scene with vampires…that’s all I’ll say so I don’t give too much away but it was one of my favourites.
Now, I will say that the characters did make some unadvisable decisions at times – Evangeline especially which can be a bit frustrating especially when it comes to her being so trusting and open with everyone which leads to more than a few risky situations. The main story arc also takes a little bit to get going so if you’re a reader who enjoys stories with a much faster paced narrative then be prepared because this one takes a few winding paths before it gets to the point. I quite liked this element though personally.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Once Upon a Broken Heart and I will definitely be reading the sequel to find out what happens next, because Garber certainly knows how to keep us hanging.
Until next time,